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FAIN would I be a man; now in no wise
My poems answer man's distress and cries.
Some men will wile their idleness away
With them, as in a sumptuous café
In pleasured peace they listen for a time
To music sweetly veiling thought and rime.
The sad will seek no consolation here,
Women will be indifferent, and the sneer
From cynics' bitter lips is sure to fall:
"Words, words, for ever words, and that is all.
This is a child crying ere it is hurt,
A mountebank in mimicry expert ...
What call has he to moan of amorous woes,
He with his flute and sonnet-furbelows,
He who with wreaths of patient, polished lines
The marble of his little griefs entwines!"
Ladies and gentlemen, alas, 'tis true!
Give me the bitter genius I should need
To reach your hidden hearts, and make them bleed!
O I were fain if I could offer you
A book that lovers would for love's sake keep,
And since there are but words, O that I knew
At least the magic words that make men weep.